Summary  Bitter Fruits DI Erica Martin #1 109


Bitter Fruits DI Erica Martin #1

Characters Bitter Fruits DI Erica Martin #1

Detective Inspector Erica Martin's first case in the university city of Durham is Emily Brabents a first year student who is found dead in the riverDI Martin visits Joyce College a cradle for the c Bitter Fruits was a really beautifully written novel haunting atmospheric very

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Wd have been a victim? Should the sudden confession to the murder by the student president be believed? And just who is the mysterious Daniel Shepherd whose name keeps appearing in the investigatio I was fortunate n getting my copy from Real Readers before publication for an h Cop Next Door president be believed? And just who is the mysterious Daniel Shepherd whose name keeps appearing in the investigatio I was fortunate n getting my copy from Real Readers before Chaos in the Capital City publication for an h

Alice Clark-Platts ✓ 9 Read

Ountry's future elite and finds a close knit community full of secrets jealousy and obsessionHer search reveals a vicious online trolling culture but could Emily from the privileged and popular cro In this refreshingly smart and thought provoking crime thriller DI Erica Martin


10 thoughts on “Bitter Fruits DI Erica Martin #1

  1. says:

    Bitter Fruits is an impressive debut novel which is both police procedural and part psychological thriller and proves gripping eerily atmospheric and sheds light on the inescapable pressures and strains that come with being thrown into an all consuming environment; specifically one of the bastions of higher education and privilege that can be alien territory to those unprepared for the experience This is a story which explores the death of a student from both the aspect of establishing guilt right through to the underpinnings and psychology of those closely linked to the victim in the run up to her demise Newly transplanted from Newcastle CID to the hallowed university town of Durham just three weeks into her new job sees DI Erica Martin given a baptism of fire when Regatta weekend results in the discovery of Joyce College fresher Emily Brabents dead body in the weir With eyes glazed clad in only a t shirt evidence of self harming and nasty marks around her neck DI Martin suspects murder But with an off the bat confession from a fellow student elected president Simon Rush an overly involved College President Phillip Mason and a college culture of trolling cyber bullying and online sexual harassment rife DI Martin and her sidekick DS Jones have their work cut out With Rush promptly handed over for a psychiatric evaluation DI Martin attempts to gain a handle on Emily’s complex personality and finds herself faced with a naive and insecure young woman under the misconception that allowing gratuitous and pornographic photos and videos of herself to be circulated somehow euated to empowering feminist behaviourThe majority of the storyline is narrated in the third person and focuses on DI Martin’s endeavours however this is complemented with the interspersed journal entries of sensitive English student and outsider Daniel Shepherd with his deeply ironic and scathing view of the culture within the university and some snippy commentary by online journalist Sean Egan of The Durham Chronicle Distinctions between each of these elements of the narrative are well marked and this make up draws the reader into a fascinating expose of the salacious details of the permissive student culture some of which is admittedly a little far fetched Emily’s willingness for photos to be openly shared not to mention that the college authorities knowingly permitting such behaviour With DI Martin and DS Jones attempting to get to grips with Emily’s social circle and pinning down her immature best friend Annabel and odious boyfriend Nick as they wait to resume uestioning Simon Rush suspicion starts to fall on Emily’s background and uick tempered father Michael Brabents However as the mysterious Daniel Shepherd refuses to surface DI Martin attempts to clarify his part in Emily’s story through his email correspondence with compromised university counsellor Stephanie Suleiman Although the pace of the investigation does flounder a little as the second half opens and the convoluted denouement risks confusion the superior psychological aspects of Bitter Fruits makes this a solid four star read DI Erica Martin is of a thinker as opposed to a grafter and remains an enigmatic presence as she conducts operations under the eyes of the university and a local media who seems to be curiously well informed As pressure comes from her superiors and with tourism and university morale reliant on and speedy resolution DI Martin’s steadfast refusal to be rushed is to her credit Having moved to the market town of Chester le Street Martin’s marriage is increasingly showing strains with her older husband Jim slow to settle in and Bitter Fruits hints at a latent attraction between her and boss DCI Sam Butterworth although this is never explored However for the most part Clark Platts lets an gritty plot and untangling the mess drive the novel and thankfully does not seem to feel the need to encumber her protagonist with either maverick tendencies or myriad problems It is this sound emphasis on getting to grips with who Emily was as opposed to the facade she presented before going on to explore just what has made her a victim that is the focus of the novel and introduces a distinctive voice to the world of crime fiction I have a predisposition to novels with an academic setting and having had a similar university experience to Durham and a sister who attended I felt it really captured the often stifling atmosphere and the desire to fit in and be accepted amongst ones peers Some of the pretentiousness surrounding revered Joyce College was I fear a little over embellished from the side of the college authorities who seemed to willingly buy into the whole culture of bullying which is a ludicrously unlikely scenario Whilst I doubt that such a culture would ever be allowed to rear its head in such a cloistered college setting this does not stop Bitter Fruits proving compelling and memorably different from the ranks of mainstream crime fiction Clark Platts has crafted a literary debut crime novel which is intelligently written and makes some insightful and damning points on an increasingly digital age where the younger generations can be drawn into a dog eat dog world of online naming and shaming and go to extraordinary lengths to be accepted by their peers This is a series that I intend to continue with and I have already purchased Alice Clark Platts follow up The Taken featuring a return for DI Erica Martin


  2. says:

    Bitter Fruits was a really beautifully written novel haunting atmospheric very lyrical in places and a heady mix of police procedural and psychological thriller one woven into the other in an intelligent and really engaging style that makes this a real page turner Emily is found dead and Martin newly arrived to the area is put on the case As she investigates dark secrets begin to emerge about the college Emily attended in Durham indeed dark secrets are surfacing all roundIt is actually uite difficult to describe how well this works how perfectly pitched it is both in tone and flow Martin's investigation diary entries from a boy called Daniel who charts his ongoing friendship with Emily both leading one into the other and back again to paint a full picture There are some wonderfully deep characters here as well Emily is an enigma Daniel has such a distinct and intriguing narrative voice then you have Martin determined to put it all together and get justice for the victimShades of The Secret History here in a good way dare I say though in some ways much better because the author resists the urge to ramble on but still has an absolutely spot on sense when it comes to using language to invoke emotional response Switching between beautiful and practical in the feel of it this novel worked for me on every levelOverall then really really good I'm a fan A huge fan and this comes highly recommended from meHappy Reading Folks


  3. says:

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC in return for an honest reviewThis is a really awkward review to write and one that I've had to think carefully about mainly because the ARC I received was in dire need of editing for style and language and I don't mean proofreading there weren't typos it was just badly written So how should I review it? Should I just review the copy I was given or should I try and see through the bad writing and assume that that will be ironed out in the published copy? The edits reuired are I think substantial and it would essentially need re drafting To make writing a review even difficult there is a bold lettered statement at the beginning of all ARCs stating that I can't uote the book because it's subject to change which is absolutely fair enough I'll struggle to accurately illustrate why I didn't like this book without using direct uotes but here goesThe premise of this book was great The corpse of Emily Brabents a first year student at Durham University is found floating in a weir on a summer morning in Durham It soon becomes apparent that the death wasn't accidental and that she was brutally strangled Enter DI Erica Martin who is tasked with finding the killer As she digs deeper into the life of the university and its students Erica uncovers a subculture of slut shaming cyberbullying and abuse All fascinating and important topics and an interesting hook for a crime thriller Unfortunately this book was let down by really amateurish writingI'm not generally a pedantic reader I can handle a few badly structured sentences or misjudged metaphors as long as I'm invested enough in the plot and characters to keep reading case in point I LOVED the two Robert Galbraith books and there were than a few examples of iffy writing in those But with this book I found the writing so problematic all the way through that I just couldn't get past it to the plot It's worth mentioning that the book was structured with chapters set in the present describing Erica's progress on the investigation alternating with chapters set in the past and told from the perspective of one of Emily's friends and the latter are significantly better written that the former The problems I had with the book were manifold but included Completely incorrect words being used seemingly in an attempt to sound artisticintelligent For example we have a young man looking ahead to his tedious life and dreading 'infinitesimal' cups of tea What's wrong with tiny microscopic cups of tea??? Why would you use infinitesimal rather than infinite anyway? Because it's longer? As stated before I don't know whether this will be sorted out before the final copy is published in two weeks but one would sincerely hope so Long words that kind of make sense being used for no reason Like the track that 'circumnavigated' the sports field I don't think that this is strictly the right use of circumnavigate but let's offer some creative license Even then it's just annoying that when long words are being used that don't add anything 'Around' would do fine We also have someone who has just been informed of a gruesome murder and who is presumably in a state of shock being described as being in a reverie Reverie means being lost in pleasant thoughts not being unable to speak due to shock Absent commas that made me have to re read a sentence a few times to work out what was being said As above hopefully this will be ironed out in the final copy Silly and annoying ways of describing dialogue eg ''Blah blah?' UESTIONED Martin' or even worse 'UERIED Martin' Just use 'asked' Creative writing instructors tell people to use 'said' or 'asked' for good reason and you only realise what that reason is until you read something written by someone who either didn't get that memo or ignored it Badly structured sentences that didn't make sense Just one example one of the characters is musing about the dangers of a group of physics students who had designed their own rockets He decides that a bunch of geeks shouldn't be in charge of setting off explosives in a public place that they themselves had designed sorry are they physicists or town planners? 'Which' EVERYWHERE Why not give 'that' a go every once in a while? Sooooo many redundant words Sentences that could easily be tightened up These are just a few examples The overall effect was that no matter how much I tried to immerse myself in the plot and characters I just couldn'tAnother MAJOR issue for me was that this is a book about cyberbullying on sites such as Twitter and Facebook which appears to have been written by a person who has never used either Eg after the victim is found dead DI Martin goes online to look at her Facebook profile One of the most recent posts on her wall is a picture of herself performing a sex act or having sex? I'm not entirely sure and underneath the photo are a range of slut shaming comments from trolls Supposedly the photo had been posted months before she died Later in the flashback chapters the victim is asked why she couldn't just delete the photo And she says that she can't access it apart from to comment on it because she has been fraped?? My jaw actually dropped at the amateurishness of this a fraping is when someone accesses your account as you and posts something as you to embarass you It's gone hugely out of fashion nowadays but I have seen some genuinely funny frapes in my time eg people whose profiles had been changed into shrines to the 1980s band Toto or someone who logged in and found that they had 100 new friends all with the same surname as them If she was indeed fraped then the photos would have been uploaded onto her own account and she could delete them straight away b If someone else had uploaded the photo of her it wouldn't appear on her wall unless she was tagged in it in which case she could just de tag it and report it to Facebook Facebook despite their many flaws are always uick to respond to reuests to take explicit photos down I once had a photo of a friend taken down because it was of him putting his finger through his fly and pretending it was his willy sophisticated eh? and I was banned from posting photos for a week c If she had been fraped and then locked out of her account then she would have been able to report this to Facebook because the account would have been linked to her email addressd the comments on the photos were all posted from fake profiles with names like 'Princess87' ?? Seriously? Has this author literally never been on Facebook? I'm not even going to get in to how wrong that is Anyone who's ever been on Facebook will instantly see why that's stupidI think it's fine for authors to write on topics that they're not intimately familiar with but do a bit of research first It's not like it would be particularly onerous to set up a Facebook profileGosh this is turning into of a rant than I thought it would be Right what else? The characters were predominantly one dimensional mainly because of the way they spoke I don't think many of them would have passed the Turing test The dialogue was very cliched I found it aggravating that the main character was constantly referred to as 'Martin' even in the context of her interacting with her mother or her husband they didn't actually call her Martin to be fair but that's how she was referred to I don't know if this is meant to be some kind of statement about gender Martin being a male name and all but it just didn't work for me It's not the 1950s any while police officers might be referred to by their surname sometimes it doesn't happen all of the time Also slightly random point but one that I've only just realised the title has NOTHING to do with the book? I don't know where it even came from It's a good title though and it's got a nice cover so whatever So the uestion remaining is 'why two stars and not one?' The answer to that is mainly to do with the fact that this was an ARC If this was the final version then I would have given it one star But I feel that I should give the editors the benefit of the doubt and assume that what I read is not what will hit bookshelves in a few weeks' time But at the same time if this book was edited into a three or a four star book the changes reuired would be so substantial that it would be a fundamentally different book to the one I just read Also I did read the entire book The plot wasn't groundbreaking but taken in isolation it was OK I DNF'd two books within the last six weeks but Bitter Fruits made it onto my 'Read' shelf and that has to count for somethingI'll look forward to checking back on the reviews of this book in six months or so to see whether people who read the published copy have similar things to say about the writing style I'd like to know by how much the ARC I was given differs from the published version


  4. says:

    I know this book has been out a while now and I am trying to go backwards in my line of read to reviews This is a great debut novel I notice a lot of debut novels that are coming out recently have been of a high standard and have really captured my attention this one being of the same mind Its hauntingEmily the girl who was murdered is a very complicated girl I found her character very interestingThe Investigation into her death and the minds of those surrounding it were awesomeA little about the detective would be have been good a bit surrounding him But this just a minor thing for me doesn't spoil the book just something I would prefer personallyMy thanks to Penguin UK Michael Joseph via Net Galley for my copy


  5. says:

    In this refreshingly smart and thought provoking crime thriller DI Erica Martin investigates the pernicious culture of cyber bullying that dominates the lives of students at Durham University The murder of a Fresher is Martin's first case after arriving in the city Martin herself soon comes under the scrutiny of the local online media getting a bitter taste of the kind of invisible trolling and emotional harassment that the victim herself was suffering in the weeks before she died While Bitter Fruits is a classic page turning crime fiction with an early unreliable confession uickly followed by a second victim and ending on a dramatic twist it also digs deep into the psychological territory of contemporary social issues For anyone over the age of 25 30 it opens the lid on an unimaginably distressing world of sexting trolling and inescapable online bullying It leaves me glad that I'm neither a detective nor a student in today's cyber dominated world Bitter Fruits will appeal to fans of crime fiction but also to readers who appreciate psychological drama of unusually high uality


  6. says:

    As you drive into the city the view of Durham Cathedral above the river is an absolute knock out I so wish I could contrive a reason to return Failing that I’ve done the next best enjoyed a murder mystery set in the university With its different narrators dialects this was a perfect Audible book for car foot elliptical machine unstoppable to the end I cannot claim to have sussed it tho’ I spotted all the principal clues but failed to imagine which ones fit together how even tho’ Alice Clark Platts plays absolutely suare with the reader we know what DI Martin knows when she does I uite liked the voice given the detective She’s supposed to be from Newcastle whilst not uite Geordie I’d have had trouble understanding her if it were had a northern flavour listening brought out a peculiarity I might not have caught in print The timing of her style of interrogation reminded me so much of Detective Colombo’s concluding an apparently innocuous conversation with a pause then as a seemingly casual afterthought asking the killer uery that homes in on the suspect like an Exocet missile blows the fishy alibi clear out of the water Do they teach this detective school?Despite the uni setting this is not a story like The Secret History or After I Left You about good friends Despite their claims the students are frenemies best most appropriately in a story featuring the very current topics of online bullying revenge porn Additionally the supporting cast of parents uni administrators a local journalist all have something dubious about them That the minor characters are so well depicted actually seems like a flaw as they vanish the end with so many conflicts unresolved in the reader’s mind For me that was especially true for Annabelle who would have been the victim Emily’s BF if I’d been writing this book We also are given only glimpses of DI Martin’s backstory personal life she has clearly a lot of baggage So no 5th star for a good one time read


  7. says:

    Pretty much what you expect of a police proceduralmurder mystery but with a few ualities that I felt really lifted it up a notch or two First off the writing is good and so is the story Just the right amount of suspension of disbelief is needed to accept the happenings but still get a surprise or two The characters are good too the pain and confusion of the college kids trying to find their place and role makes for engaging reading Best is however DI Erica Martin herself and oddly enough on account of being uite normal and uite discreet I found it a great relief to find a heroine that did not fall into any of the uirky anti social self destructive ridiculously beautiful overbearingly righteous anarchistic unfairly treated overly sexual action sport adrenaline junky or any combination of the above category I'm looking forward to finding out were she goes in the next in the series


  8. says:

    First class thriller and an excellent debut by someone who can best be described as a beautiful technically gifted writer The characterisation is sophisticated and entirely believable The story is on point and the writing style and use of language is second to noneWell done Clark Platts on a stunning first novel Bring on the next one


  9. says:

    I was fortunate n getting my copy from Real Readers before publication for an honest reviewDetective Inspector Martin had just joined the Durham police force and straight away had a murder to deal with Emily Brabens is found dead in the weir and as DI Martin goes to the college to inform them and find out what she could about the dead girl she is surprised to find one of the fellow students confess immediately Simon Rush said he had pushed her into the weir When DI Martin and DS Jones uestion him at the station all is not as it seems Emily tried so hard to fit in at the college but she had seemed to go the wrong way about it and had only one true friend Daniel Shepherd Did Simon really kill Emily? and why? As they delve further into the private lives of the students a sordid picture emerges and throughout the whole investigation the reader is treated to an insight from the killer with pages of his or her thoughts but never indicating who they areThe twist nearing the end is surprising but wait that's not the only oneI very rarely enjoy a book this much and Alice Clark Platts has hit the ground running with this first novel I hope there are many to come as I will definately be looking out for them


  10. says:

    Bitter Fruits Alice Clark PlattsI love debut novels They are such a lottery They can be dire and finishing them can feel like wading through treacle They can be okay and you sense some promise and defer ultimate judgement until the next one Or they can completely blow you awayI couldn't put this book down and I mean that literally Everything was put on hold until I finished itI hesitate to use the word brilliant because it is overused and my response is subjective but for me this wasn't far shortIt’s a deceptive book and substantial than it seems at first And yet curiously there is a danger that this substance could be overlooked as the reader focuses purely on the crime aspect because it is so well done the attention doesn't stray The plot is tight well constructed with a veritable shoal of red herrings to lure the reader into believing they have solved this crime The characters are believable There is no holding back when highlighting some of today’s contemporary issues; internet bullying so endemic nowadays the morality of the media or their lack of it the dynamics of a police force pressured into delivering results unreasonably uickly to satisfy the bureaucrats and social commentators as if catching a murderer is so easy And throughout the book how hard it is to be a young person in today’s world I could go on the book has such a to to offerThere were imperfections; the story uses a dual narrative techniue and there were a couple of inconsistencies for example a character developed in the first narrative was suddenly mentioned in the second with no exposition Some of the descriptive passages were so typical of a debut novel that desire to demonstrate all at once the writer’s abilities But I’m nit picking and this book doesn't deserve itI’m very excited by this writer and I do hope there are tales of this calibre to issue forth from her pen Alice Clark Platts? I am a fan


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